In April I was able to take my fourth trip back to the Philippines for three weeks. Though my time is limited on these short trips, I thank God that He seems to work it so that much can be accomplished in the time I do have. Also, I believe He places extra care and watchfulness over my family and, in particular, Jonathan’s health while I’m away. My mother-in-law is a tremendous help to Audrey as well in helping with the kids, doctors’ appointments, and hospital stays while I’m gone.
The first Sunday there, I drove six hours to the southern part of our island of Negros to attend the Bible college graduation of Mel Veloso, the first man from our church who was called to be a pastor. He is 31 years old and a mature Christian who did very well during his training time in college. He is doing well handling the daily operations of our main church plant, which also includes the ongoing building program. Bro. Mel is excited to be courting a wonderful Christian lady who works at a good church in a neighboring city. Please keep him in your prayers as he transitions and adjusts to his new role at Harvest Baptist Church.
While I was there, we conducted our three-day VBS in five different neighborhoods and, on the final day, brought all the children to our church for a final service. Over 200 different kids attended, with 100 calling on Christ to save them. Please pray for the follow-up and spiritual growth of these children as we continue to go into their areas weekly and bring them to Sunday school.
Another highlight of my trip was having the privilege to host our first medical mission. With all that our son has gone through, this is a ministry opportunity close to our hearts. The need in poor countries for even basic medical care is vast. Dr. Edgar Gerodias, a Christian Filipino doctor and faithful laymen of a sister church, brought a team of workers and organized the free medical care and treatment of 71 patients. We also shared the Gospel one on one with those who were willing, and we praise God that 28 of them called on Christ for salvation.
The occupancy permit from the government for our church auditorium is taking longer than expected to be approved. The Sunday school building also still awaits a building permit, though we are ready to begin construction. We are waiting for city officials to schedule a meeting with our church leadership to discuss details of the building. Due to it being a two-story building in a residential area, the city may need to rezone it to commercial, as they have done in other scenarios. Please pray for these issues to be resolved quickly and efficiently.